Sometimes it’s easy to get bogged down in what’s going wrong in South Carolina.

There’s certainly no shortage of material.

The mudslinging in the governor’s race (that’s the November 2014 election, by the way); the annual poke in the eye S.C. taxpayers will be getting in the aftermath of the hacking scandal; and of course the omnipresent reminder as we speed toward the signup period for the Affordable Care Act that our state chose not to expand Medicaid.

Having said all that, there is good news on a few fronts:

As Glenn Smith reported, South Carolina is in the top 10 on a list we can be proud of—the states that have seen the greatest decrease in the number of incarcerated juveniles during the past 10 years or more.

And as Lauren Sausser wrote, 86 percent of children who are eligible for health insurance assistance from the state were listed as covered in 2011—and state leaders say the number is probably greater now. So, even though we’re not expanding Medicaid, a good number of the folks who need government provided insurance, have it.

And even if you count Miss South Carolina’s head-scratching comment about “the state where 20 percent of homes are mobile, because that’s how we roll,” there are other states in the South that are doing a pretty good job making us look good.

Yes, we’re looking at you, our neighbor to the north.

It’s not easy being N.C.

North Carolina has been having a rough go of it. The New York Times opined earlier this year about the state’s decline.

The Moral Monday movement has given a platform to some who otherwise wouldn’t have a voice — which is actually a good thing. But these aren’t just excuses to socialize. They’re protests, and there’s plenty to protest about:

A Voter ID law that includes the end of same day registration and reduces the option for early voting can hardly be heralded as being inclusive and providing more access for voters.

A law that could effectively shutter many abortion clinics in the state, reducing access for women.

A law that prohibits law enforcement from destroying confiscated weapons and those purchased in gun buyback initiatives. Because there’s a gun shortage, apparently.

And, it turns out, we’re not the only ones with friction with the health administration. Just this week, Gov. Pat McCrory was forced to defend his choice to lead that state’s health agency, though the problem there relates to hiring of campaign donors instead of a TB outbreak.

Maybe North Carolina shouldn’t look down their Tar Heel noses at us, because they are not having the best year ever.

A chance to lead

But South Carolina could.

Things are looking up for us, port-wise. At least, we’re still equally as interesting to the Obama administration as Georgia, so that’s encouraging.

The STEM partnership that Diette Courrege Casey wrote about this week has potential to be a game changer across the state and across all levels of education, getting our students ready for the tech-heavy world. And New Tech, which Doug Pardue writes about today, can make our students into the kinds of people businesses clamor to hire and colleges want to enroll.

We can be the leaders, maybe even be on the cutting edge, given the right focus and the right people working together.

That’s how we should roll.

Reach Melanie Balog at 937-5565 or